December 27, 2010

Kim Komando answers your video, computer questions

The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Q. I’m looking for an inexpensive, basic video-editing program. What do you recommend?

A. How about free? For video editing on a Windows PC, I recommend Microsoft’s Movie Maker. You can import video and photos. Then easily arrange the content on a timeline. You can also add a soundtrack or narration. Basic transitions and effects are included. Movie Maker comes free on Windows XP and Vista. For Windows 7, you can download Live Movie Maker for free. Visit Komando.com/news for a link. On a Mac, stick with iMovie. It is part of the iLife software suite. You can use it to make excellent home videos. It can even make semi-professional video.

Q. I’m getting my daughter an iPod touch. Is there a way to filter content in the Web browser?

A. The iPod touch has decent parental controls. However, it doesn’t include content filtering. The best you can do is turn off the Safari browser entirely. Fortunately, you can replace Safari with a new browser app. These browser apps can have advanced features like filtering. Mobicip ($5) is one of the best. You can control the filtering via an online account. It also lets you monitor what sites your daughter is accessing. Don’t forget to turn off Safari. Otherwise, your daughter can just use that instead. Visit Komando.com/news for a link to Mobicip and for help disabling Safari.

Q. I’m considering buying a MacBook Air. Should I get the new model? Or would an older, used model be ok?

A. An older, used model would be somewhat less expensive. You could probably save $500. However, the new model is a much better computer. It has a slimmer, stronger frame and additional USB ports. The display is sharper and brighter. And the components are generally higher quality. It will be faster and more responsive. For the money, it is a definite improvement. And it will last longer than a used model. That means you’ll get more for your money over the long term.

Q. I’m going to buy an all-in-one printer. I would like one that has built-in Wi-Fi. But it needs to be between $100 and $150. Are the printers in that range any good?

A. Yes, the printers in the $100 to $150 range should be fine. All-in-one printers aren’t specialty gadgets anymore. You can find them for as low as $70. And they’ll generally work ok. To get Wi-Fi, you will be paying more. But even Wi-Fi all-in-one printers are dropping in price. You can find them for as little as $110. But you might want to spend a little more and get 802.11n wireless. This is faster and has a longer range. You will have more options for placement. And tasks like scanning will go faster.

Q. My old camcorder finally bit the dust. I want to get a new camcorder. Should I get another tape-based model? Or would a flash-based camcorder be better?

A. I’m not even sure if you can find tape-based camcorders anymore. You will find some that use DVDs or Blu-ray discs. But you should avoid all of those in favor of flash memory. The camcorder will be smaller, and write times will be faster. Flash-based cameras make it easier to transfer video to a computer. And many flash-based camcorders have expandable memory. So you don’t have to worry about running out of room. Memory cards are much smaller than tapes or DVDs. So you can carry more of them with you.

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Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. To get the podcast or find the station nearest you, visit: http://www.komando.com/listen. To subscribe to Kim’s free e-mail newsletters, sign-up at: http://www.komando.com/newsletters.